Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Sarah Moriah Crouse (1833-1930)

Sarah Moriah Crouse, c1850

Sarah Moriah Crouse, one of my maternal 2X great grandmothers, had a bumpy start to life. She was born 7 May 1833, in the small town of Keswick, in York County, New Brunswick, Canada and was the daughter of Peter Crouse and Rebecca Jones, themselves children of Loyalists who fled to Canada at the close of the Revolution.

Sarah had little or no memory of her father, who reportedly died about 1835. She was the youngest of four children born to Peter and Rebecca, as she had three older brothers – Elias (c1828- before 15 February 1866), Dean (c1829-between 1861-1870) and Samuel (c1831-Between 1865-1880). When looking at Sarah’s brothers’ relatively short life spans, Sarah was quite remarkable, living to the ripe old age of 97 1/2 years.

Her mother, Rebecca, married (2) Benjamin Blyther, who lived in Red Beach (today part of Calais), Maine, before c1835 and the young family moved across the Canadian-U.S. border to Red Beach, Washington, Maine, which today is part of the city of Calais.

Sarah would have had no memory of her life in Canada, but she was very familiar with Keswick village, as she made frequent visits there throughout her lifetime, as related to my grandmother, Hazel.

Benjamin Blyther would be the only father Sarah ever knew and the small Crouse family grew into the large extended Crouse-Blyther family with the arrival of Sarah’s five half sisters – Mary Elizabeth (1836-1893), Martha (1838-after 1930), Helen Marr (1842-1930), Ruth (1844-1939) and Henrietta L. (1847-1944) – and her little half brother, Albert F., born in 1851, but who sadly died in 1858, aged only 6 years old.

Aside from the loss of little Albert, Sarah grew up in a large, happy household, which provided much more stability than her early life and the loss of her father.

Benjamin Blyther was a farmer who owned a small piece of land in Red Beach. Next door to the Blythers lived the family of Thomas and Mary Elizabeth (Astle) Coleman. They were the parents of one son, William (1834-1905).

Sarah ended up marrying the proverbial boy next door, William Coleman, on 6 February 1855 in Calais, Washington, Maine.

Sarah’s marriage to William was a happy one, although William decided the life of a farmer wasn’t for him and decided to work at sea. He became a master mariner, piloting a tugboat along the St. Croix River, dividing New Brunswick, Canada and Washington County, Maine.

Sarah Moriah (Crouse) Coleman, c1895

William and Sarah became the parents of six children, although two died in childhood and their eldest, daughter Mary Adelaide, died of goit, aged 39 years, leaving a husband and seven children.

Children (All events in Calais, unless otherwise noted):

1. Mary Adelaide, born 2 December 1855; died 16 January 1895; married George Morton Redding, 5 November 1878.
2. Alvin D., born 27 November 1857; died 16 April 1858
3. William Edgar, born October 1859; died 20 November 1931, Gardner, Worcester, Massachusetts; married Louise M. Gould, 9 June 1880
4. Samuel Jones, born October 1863; died 9 January 1935, newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Lulu Viola Rapley, 14 February 1885
5. Hartwell Thomas, born 27 December 1869; died 30 March 1938; married (1) Anna Elisabeth Jensen/Johnson, 14 July 1892 (2) Lydia J. Wilson, 12 September 1918 (3) Sadie Edna Staples, 30 March 1924, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts

After William died in 1905, Sarah lived the rest of her life with son Hartwell and his family, even moving for a short time to Massachusetts, when Hartwell worked as a master mariner in Boston Harbor.

Last photo of Sarah, taken in the summer of 1930

I am fortunate that my grandmother, Hazel, knew her grandmother well (Hazel was 29 years old when Sarah died) and that I am now the caretaker of these old family photos.

Sarah Moriah (Crouse) Coleman lived for almost a century, passing away from myocarditis and arteriosclerosis. Her short obituary was published in the Bangor News:

Mrs. Sarah M. Coleman, widow of the Capt. William Coleman, passed away Saturday afternoon at the home of her son, Hartwell T. Coleman, after an illness of seven months. Deceased was born at Keswick, N.B., in 1833, but the greater part of her 97 years were spent in Calais, where she made many warm friends. She was a constant member of the Union church, the pastor of which, Rev. H.L. Buzzell conducted the funeral services Monday afternoon, the attendance and beautiful floral offerings attesting to the esteem in which she was held.

It is odd that no mention is made of where she was buried. I believe she is buried in Calais Cemetery with husband William, but her death record doesn’t indicate her burial location.



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